TSI Blog

Does Length Of Service Influence Employee Engagement Levels

September 9th, 2015 by Alison McKinney

QueenReigning for 63 years and 7 months, Queen Elizabeth II has surpassed the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. This is indeed an extraordinary feat.

Her Majesty has reigned over the UK and its commonwealth realms with a sure and steady hand that has not only earned her the respect of her people, but has positioned the British monarchy for a future that now appears brighter than ever.

“My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service’, the pledge made by the then Princess Elizabeth in her 21st Birthday broadcast to the Commonwealth, has never wavered. It seems that even after all these years on the throne, Her Majesty’s drive and mission is stronger than ever.

So, is there some kind of correlation between longevity and tenure that influences peoples drive, enthusiasm and engagement in the roles they perform?

Our research shows that engagement levels are typically at their highest during the first 24 months of employment. Employees are really enjoying their work, the challenge of a new position, working for a new organisation and value meeting and working with new people during this time.  We have also discovered that during the early stages of employment people are more likely to volunteer their time for work and projects outside their remit, thus engrossing themselves more in the culture and working practices of an organisation.

There comes a natural dip in employee engagement levels from about 2 years, though this can vary from organisation to organisation. They are at their lowest between the 2 to 5 year job tenure periods. The reason for this is that employees feel ‘ground down’ into working practices and feel stagnant in their role. Time in role currently stands at around the 4 year mark (although this does vary depending on which figures you look at).  It will not be a surprise to see that lower engagement levels coincided with the average length of stay in job!

If possible within your organisation, ensure that your employees have an opportunity to stretch themselves, be challenged and get more involved in different aspects of the organisation. This helps keeps employee engagement levels up, especially during this critical phase of the life cycle of employee engagement.

Interestingly though, employee engagement levels rebound the longer a person remains with an organisation. In fact, those with more than 10 years’ service tend to be more engaged than those with 2 to 5 years’ service. Typically, it’s fair to say, those with a longer length of service are in more senior roles and we have found there is a correlation between length of service and seniority for employee engagement.

Of course, Queen Elizabeth II could indeed be an exception to this, but I wonder if her levels of engagement have ever waivered over the years of her reign?

Understanding the changes in engagement levels and how employees interact with their organisation’s brand throughout their tenure is a useful tool. It can certainly help to retain talented employees and help organisations develop plans to keep employee engagement levels high.

If you would like to know more about how we at The Survey Initiative can help with employee engagement levels, or any other employee research aspect, then why not give us a call on +44 (0)1255 850051 or contact us via the web.

Written by Alison McKinney
Alison McKinney is the Project and Quality Assurance Manager at The Survey Initiative, a dedicated employee research organisation devoted to helping its clients gain insight and understanding into what drives employee engagement in their business. Alison has extensive experience in project management and quality assurance and has recently worked on projects for clients as diverse as: WSP Middle East. Natural History Museum, Peverel, Marine Stewardship Council, Accor UK &Ireland and Thompsons Solicitors. Visit http://www.surveyinitiative.co.uk for more information.

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